After nearly two years of saber rattling, Google and Oracle will finally have their chance to battle it out in a federal court.
U.S. District Court judge William Alsup ruled yesterday that both Oracle and Google would need to be ready to argue their cases in a San Francisco federal court on April 16. The judge said that he expects the trial to last approximately eight weeks.
Oracle sued Google in 2010, claiming that Android violates patents Oracle holds related to the Java programming language. Google has denied those claims, saying that the lawsuit is "without merit" and should have been thrown out. Late last year, Google made that case more strongly after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected 17 of the 21 claims included in a patent Oracle has brought against Google.
The patent, called "Controlling access to a resource," describes how a so-called "principal" calls for access on a software platform.
It's rather surprising that the case will now go to trial. Back in September, both Google and Oracle agreed in court to try mediation to settle their lawsuit, and offered up some of their top executives to get the deal done. That deal obviously never came to fruition.
Starting next month, though, Google will have the opportunity to put to the test its contention that it's being targeted by "bogus" patents. For months now, the company has said that firms like Oracle are trying to limit growth in the mobile space by using patents to stymie innovation.
"Android's success has yielded...a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and other companies, waged through bogus patents," Google's chief legal officer David Drummond wrote in a blog post last year. "Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it."
For its part, Oracle says that it simply wants what it believes it's owed. And if it wins this case, that could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.